Philips DreamStation CPAP Lawsuit Filed Over Mouth Cancer, Pneumonia Injuries

The Philips DreamStation CPAP lawsuit identifies Wm. T. Burnett Foam LLC as the provider of the recalled toxic sound abatement foam used in the devices.

According to allegations raised in a recently filed lawsuit, exposure to toxic and carcinogenic microparticles released by a Philips DreamStation CPAP machine caused a California woman to develop a form of mouth cancer and recurrent pneumonia.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Sandra Silva in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on December 15, presenting claims against the manufacturer Koninklijke Philips, it’s North American subsidiaries, and Wm. T. Burnett Foam LLC, which supplied the toxic sound abatement foam used inside the sleep apnea machine.

Philips DreamStation CPAP machines have been sold in recent years with a polyester-based polyurethane foam, which is intended to reduce noise and fibrations while the device is used at night by individuals with sleep apnea. However, millions of the devices were recalled earlier this year after it was discovered that the CPAP foam degrades and releases chemicals, gasses and debris directly into the machine’s air pathways and the lungs of users.

Silva indicates that she began using a DreamStation CPAP to treat her sleep apnea in January 2017, and regularly used the device for years on a daily basis. However, after breathing the toxic microparticles, she developed pneumonia twice over the course of a year and was hospitalized as a result. Then, in the summer of 2021, when Philips announced a massive CPAP device recall due to the presence of toxic sound abatement foam, she began to experience oral pain, and was subsequently diagnosed with oral squamous carcinoma, a form of mouth cancer, in her soft palate.

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As a result of mouth cancer caused by the Philips DreamStation CPAP, Silva indicates that she underwent a maxillectomy earlier this month to remove the cancerous cells.

“This procedure resulted in a large hole cut in the roof of Plaintiff’s mouth and the loss of her two front teeth and a number of teeth on the right side of her mouth,” the lawsuit states. “Due to her recurrent bouts of pneumonia and the oral squamous carcinoma, Plaintiff suffers substantially weakened breathing capabilities and has difficulty talking and eating.”

The lawsuit blames Silva’s cancer on the CPAP sound abatement foam provided to Philips by Wm. T. Burnett Foam, indicating that the defendants have long known the polyester-based polyurethane foam has a tendency to release toxic and carcinogenic microparticles that can be inhaled by users, causing serious injury or death.

According to a recently released FDA inspection report, Philips knew about the problem with the degrading sound abatement foam since at least 2015, indicating that emails exchanged with the foam supplier discussed the problem. However, no investigation was initiated or corrective actions were taken until a massive recall was announced in June 2021.

Over the past few months, dozens of similar Philips DreamStation CPAP lawsuits have been filed throughout the federal court system, each raising similar allegations that exposure the deteriorating sound abatement foam exposed users to a risk of cancer, severe respiratory problems and other health complications.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in product liability and class action lawsuits over recalled Philips CPAP devices and other breathing assistance machines, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided last month to centralize the litigation before Senior U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti in the Western District of Pennsylvania for pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL).

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